4 stars · M/M Romance · Sizzler

Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye #1) by Sarina Bowen

Goodbye Paradise Book Cover Goodbye Paradise
Hello Goodbye Series #1
Sarina Bowen
Fiction, M/M Romance
First published February 18th 2015, re-release March 21st 2017


Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home.

On the Compound, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.

But Joshua doesn’t need any help from TV or porn to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together in the way he’s always craved.

Yet it can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires, and Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him.

Luckily, there is someone who does. But can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord's name in vain, love against the kitchen counter, and evidence that canvas work trousers can truly be sexy.

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord's name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.

ARIANNA’s review

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To be honest, reading the blurb I was expecting this novel to be too religious-y for me, but – surprise, surprise! – it really wasn’t. The religious aspect was barely there which I obviously liked. Sarina Bowen delivered a sweet, steamy and heartwarming tale about to boys who find themselves and find love despite the fact their lifestyles and living conditions are unusual, to say the least.

Caleb and Josh have been living in a polygamist compound all their lives. In the compound there are rules and there are expectations. While Caleb is treated all the time with consideration and respect, Josh is treated pretty badly. The two boys have been friends since forever, but recently Josh started to feel something more than friendship for his best friend. He feels guilty for his sexual fantasies and for the fact Josh is the first person who’s popping in his mind every morning, not only because he knows for sure the gays are condemned in the compound, but also because he thinks his best friend wouldn’t like to find out about his sexual orientation.

When Caleb realizes Josh will be kicked out from the compound he decides to go with his best friend and live his own life. The two boys decide to find Maggie, a woman who escaped the compound several years ago, so helped by a truck driver they start their journey to a more fulfilling life. They tentatively start to open up and express the feelings they have for each other trying to find out who they are individually and together as a couple.

Overall the story was well done! Despite the religious aspect the story wasn’t as angsty as I had expected. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded a little more angst, because I honestly think the story would have been more believable in some way. This first installment in the series was really sweet, but not too sugary sweet to be ridiculous. I really enjoyed the premise. It was my first time reading a book with such a premise and I really found it to be very interesting and also refreshing.

I liked how the story progressed and how the relationship between the two main characters evolved. Both main characters were adorable individually and especially together and both of them were pretty well developed. I liked the fact they were so different from each other and, of course, the fact that both of them were virgins. It was very sexy to say the least. The sexy scenes between them were hot as hell, intense and at times so damn sweet. Caleb and Josh complemented each other perfectly. I enjoyed how they helped each other in some way or another as the story progressed and most of all the tenderness between them.

Overall, this was a wonderful friends to lovers story that made smile and swoon from beginning until the end.

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